Blogs > The Best of Don Seeley's Columns

Former Mercury sports editor Don Seeley passed away in June 2013 from a heart attack. For more than a decade Seeley wrote about local sports. Featured here are his columns that were previously printed in The Mercury.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Goodhart hits home run with Baseball for Life

Bonnie Goodhart delivered her first pitch just over four years ago, a few hours after what seemed like her umpteenth round of chemotherapy.

She wanted to help others … others, like her and so many of her friends, who were fighting cancer.

No one ever said it with such passion, or with such conviction.

Lymphoma leukemia may have robbed her of the happy and healthy life she had been so blessed with, the happy and healthy life she had cherished and shared with her husband, Jim, two daughters and three sons. But four long years, four exhaustive years of going here and there for treatments and medical advice – from the Pottstown Memorial Medical Center’s Cancer Unit, to the Fox Chase Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania Hospital and Temple University Hospital down in Philadelphia, and all the way out to the Hershey Cancer Center up to the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York – didn’t rob Bonnie Goodhart’s zest for life.

Or her desire to help so many others who’ve been tortured by cancer, both mentally and physically.

And financially.

“I had the opportunity through the years to be in various cancer centers and see the other needs people have,” Goodhart said recently. “Those other needs are help with their bills.”

Goodhart, along with some hints and guidance from her husband, came up with Baseball For Life – a one-pitch, slow-pitch softball tournament. To say it was a hit from the inaugural event back in 2008 would be an understatement. Its popularity has grown, evidenced by the number of teams participating each year since.

The bulk of the revenue from the tournament comes from registration – $25 per player or $250 per team. Not bad for what has always proven to be a fun-filled day of softball at Ringing Rocks Park. There are also 50-50 raffles to generate a few more dollars. And there’s plenty of food for everyone under the pavilion, just up the path from the playing field.

But the bottom line, and one that brings a big genuine smile to Goodhart’s face, is the amount of money raised … and where it’s gone.

“We’ve always given a portion of the money we’ve raised to Relay for Life,” Goodhart said. “We’ve given about $3,000 to Relay, and we’ve spent (from Baseball For Life) somewhere around $7,000 helping others.”

Goodhart gets very emotional when talking about the number of cancer patients who are unable to pay certain bills because of limited insurance coverage. There are also those cancer patients, or their spouses, who are out of work, which more often than not translates into no insurance coverage whatsoever.

Baseball For Life, she explained, simply cannot hit that grand slam for everyone. In other words, there obviously aren’t enough funds to make mortgage and car payments.

“We all get the big, big bills from the hospitals, cancer centers and doctors,” Goodhart said. “There are some associations out there that can help people with those type of bills. We’re not here to pay the big, big bills.

“But we are here to help people who, because of a number of reasons, are struggling to pay their electric or oil bills, their rent. We’re also here to help those people who can’t afford to go out and buy the medications they need to fight cancer.”

Goodhart has been able to get the names of those in need from representatives of neighboring hospitals, specifically Pottstown Memorial Medical Center. She would also like to hear from someone from Phoenixville Hospital’s Cancer Center, if indeed anyone there needs help.

“There are people who go in for treatments every day who can’t afford to pay certain bills,” Goodhart said. “We’ve even seen people panicking because they don’t even have the money to pay for their medicine.

“There are people out there who don’t ask for a thing, who don’t ask for anything, but they need help. That’s why we’re here. And what makes us a little different is that we will try to do everything we can to get those people the help they need right away.”

Baseball For Life isn’t an open-checkbook, mind you. Goodhart will write a check directly to the electric company or to the pharmacy, for example. No cash is exchanged, and no checks are written out to individuals.

“Again, we want to hear from the nurses and doctors, or even from the relatives of people who need the help,” Goodhart added. “No one should be embarrassed to ask us for help. No one should ever be pushed aside, and we certainly will not push anyone aside.”

The one thing Bonnie Goodhart will push, though, is her tournament.

And for one very inspiring young lady, this one will be the most fun. After nearly eight full years of fighting lymphoma leukemia – and beating what seemed to unbeatable odds – she is in total remission … cancer-free.

“We would love to have more teams sign up, and we’d love to see more people come out to watch the games and support Baseball For Life,” she said.

This year’s tournament gets under way 8 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 28 at the Ringing Rocks Park facility. Individuals as well as teams, which are guaranteed a minimum of three games, can still register to participate in the event by calling Jim Goodhart at 610-327-4844. The deadline to register is Monday, Aug. 22. … Pottsgrove High School graduate and longtime Pottstown-area resident Lew Hoffman’s ballclub, The Spikes, has committed once again and will be looking to defend their title. … Anyone wishing to make donations may do so writing Baseball For Life, 1407 Glasgow St., Pottstown, Pa. 19464.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home